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A breath of fresh air as Tower Bridge hosts Car Free Day celebrations

Londoners were able to enjoy the fresh air on Tower Bridge yesterday which saw the bridge closed to traffic - but open for people - as part of Car Free Day.

The bridge was closed to traffic all day, with a programme of free events throughout the afternoon.

In between the programme of bands and dancers, Ken Livingstone made a speech welcoming visitors to Car Free Day and explaining the ethos behind the day, before leading a mass cycle across the Bridge by 300 plus cyclists and in-line skaters.

Significantly for SE1 residents, Southwark Council launched London's first car-sharing club on the south side of the Bridge at Potters Field.

The afternoon concluded with a fireboat display courtesy of the London Fire Brigade, as Tower Bridge was lifted.

Using the slogan "London needs a breather – and so do you" campaigners aimed to tempt motorists out of their cars to help the environment.

The Tower Bridge was part of a programme of events in 11 boroughs aimed at showing the benefits of reducing traffic in town centres.

London is one of 1,000 participating European towns and cities. The event has been running throughout Europe since 1995, with The Cut in Waterloo closed to traffic for Car Free Day 2000.

Mr Livingstone said: "The message is that instead of just jumping into their car for every journey, Londoners need to think twice about whether they can cover the distance by cycling, walking or using public transport."

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